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GBHS Hall of Fame
Two new names join honored inductees
new deh gbhs hall of fame larry becker pic
Larry Becker

Great Bend High School Hall of Fame inductees include:

2008 – Skip Yowell, John Keller and Jack Kilby

2009 – Jack Bowman, Sean Murphy and Tim Weiser

2010 – Jenny Allford and Glenn Opie 

2011 – Don Halbower and Dan McGovern

2012 – Karla (Bender) Leibham and Bill McKown 

2013 – Allen Keiswetter and Celia LaBranche

2014 – George Nossaman and Randy Goering

2015 – Shannon Schartz and Ty Cobb

2016 – Jean Cavanaugh and Mike Goss

2017 – Larry Becker and Jim Calcara

 Great Bend High School has announced its 2017 inductees to the GBHS Hall of Fame. Recognized will be two individuals, one a longtime swimming coach and the other a respected architect.

Honored will be Larry Becker and Jim Calcara.

The Hall of Fame ceremony and luncheon are scheduled for 11:45 a.m. Friday, Feb. 23, at Stoneridge Country Club. 1438 24th St. in Great Bend. The induction ceremony will take place between the girls’ and boys’ basketball games against Hays High School that night in the GBHS gym. A reception will follow the games in the Jack Kilby Commons and the public is invited.

Ticket sales and prices will be announced at a later date. 

This marks the 10th year for the HOF. Past inductees include globe-trotting JanSport founder Skip Yowell and microchip inventor Jack Kilby.

After the nominations come in, a committee made up of administrators, teachers, School Board representatives and local residents make the final determination. Nominees must be students, teachers or community members who have made a significant contribution to community or country. 

A display case in the GBHS commons contains plaques and memorabilia paying tribute to all the recipients.

Below are the biographies of the inductees as submitted by those who nominated them.

Larry Becker

Larry Becker graduated from Great Bend High School in 1953 and earned his BS degree in Physical Education and Business Administration from Emporia State University in 1959. From 1960-1974, Coach Becker was a teacher and coach at Arapahoe High School in Littleton, Colorado. During this time, he was the head swimming and diving coach and led the team to numerous conference titles and two state Championships. Individually, he had six swimmers and divers earn high school All-American status. Coach Becker also coached football and gymnastics in Colorado.

In 1975, Larry returned to Great Bend to teach physical education at Great Bend High School. During his tenure at GBHS, Larry spent several years as an assistant football coach and served as the football coordinator. He became the first boys’ and girls’ swimming and diving coach at Great Bend High School in 1979 and would continue in the capacity until his retirement in 2000. During his tenure, Coach Becker’s teams were consistently among the top in the state, and his teams were always competitive. Countless relays and individual swimmers and divers qualified and placed at the State Meet. He was highly respected by other coaches across the State and he was voted as the KSHSAA swimming “Coach of the Year” by his peers three times. Under Coach Becker’s guidance, the GBHS girls’ team won three of the first four Western Athletic Conference Championships. In 1989, Larry earned the prestigious Swimming Coach Silver Award from the National High School Scholastic Coach magazine.

Coach Becker’s swimming expertise extended beyond the walls of Great Bend High School. During the summers, Larry spent countless summers teaching and managing swimming lessons at his backyard swimming pool in Barton Hills. He also managed the Great Bend Municipal swimming pool at Brit Spaugh Park as well as managed the Red Cross swim lesson program. In addition, he and his wife Joy purchased Club West pool as another opportunity to provide safe, enjoyable recreation for families and the youth of Great Bend. Larry was also instrumental in helping start the local competitive swim club (now called the Golden Belt Swim Squad). Under his guidance, the Great Bend Swim Club was consistently one of the best swim clubs in all of western Kansas and continues to thrive and be successful to this day.

Many of Coach Becker’s students, athletes, co-workers, and friends remember his positive attitude, his kindness, and his compassion. He truly believed that America’s most important natural resource is our youth. It was Larry Becker’s positive attitude that really made him special. For many years, he shared his passion for the sport of swimming to positively impact the lives of many children in Great Bend and Barton County.

Jim Calcara

Jim Calcara graduated from Great Bend High School in 1961. While in high school he was active in band, FF A, science club, safety club, and drama. After graduation from GBHS, Jim attended Kansas State University and graduated in 1968 with a Bachelor of Architecture, Jim then landed in Kansas City where he began to expand his network of colleagues and develop his architecture and design acumen. He also built key relationships that would enhance his leadership skills and future business ventures. In 1980, Jim and several fellow K-State classmates founded CFDM2 Architecture which quickly grew into one of Kansas City’s most reputable firms. Through Jim’s leadership, vision and relationships, another venture resulted in 360 Architecture in 2004. This firm was a source of several significant projects like sports stadiums, corporate offices, hospitality venues, and higher education facilities.

In addition, Jim Calcara has been very involved with Kansas State University. His involvement with the College, and his outstanding architectural achievements, led to an appointment as a Distinguished Visiting Professional at the program in Castiglione del Lago, Italy, This teaching position allowed him to share his passion for architecture and design with KSU architecture students. He is also involved with the KSU Dean’s Advisory Council. During his decade long tenure Jim led an initiative to significantly upgrade the Colleges’ century old Seaton Hall. This “new” Seaton Hall was dedicated in the fall of 2017.

Jim Calcara has received many awards in his career. He received the 2003 National Business Committee for the Arts Innovation Award presented by the BCA and Forbes Magazine. Additional awards and honors include the 2000 Neighborhood Hero Award from the Kansas City Neighborhood Alliance, the 1998 Kansas City Business Journal and Mayer Hoffman McCann Up and Comers Award presented by Junior Achievement of Middle America, and the Top Ten Small Business of the Year Award in 1998 from the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. In 2004 he was presented with the Distinguished Service Award at Kansas State University.

Jim has been described by colleagues as “having been instrumental in the transformation of various places and spaces throughout the world all with a common goal - making lives better through architecture” and as a ‘model of accomplishment and breadth that would make any institution proud.” It is an honor for Great Bend High School to recognize his many accomplishments with induction into his high school Hall of Fame.